Google Ads is a behemoth of a platform, managing and organising trillions of adverts every second. It’s versatile but also competitive, with rankings of keywords and prices of targeted advertising changing by the second.
When you begin using Google Ads, it can be very overwhelming. Firstly, the system itself is complicated, and it often feels like there’s too much to learn. When you get the hang of the main system, there’s hundreds of tools at your disposal…if only you knew how to spot them!
As the platform evolves, so does the tools Google provides. Some tools save time, others save money. Here are five tools we think you need to have for any successful website to flourish, onsite or through search engine algorithms.
2. Ad Variations
As most online marketers will know, A-B testing is one of the core best practices of digital advertising. Running two or more ads at the same time, each with its own specific variation helps you to understand which audience you’re attracting best and allows you to adapt to the right target audience.
In the past, this was a much more frustrating, labour-intense experience. Today, Google has acknowledged this and has expanded the original text ad format, providing more space to test copy. In addition, Google has also launched RSAs (responsive search ads) that quickly test combinations of copy automatically.
Out of this, came the Ads Variations tool. It’s located in the Drafts and Experiments area and allows brands to create variations on their ads faster. Now you can run ad variations for the whole account, specific campaigns, or even a custom scope. Once the experiment launches, results are shown and monitored in the Ad Variations area.
2. Audience Observation
For a long time, social media was the dominant platform for people looking to target ads to a specific demographic. Although Google could focus on location and a few other parameters, places like Facebook offered much more variation to demographic specifications.
Targeting males in their 40s who like to fish, was only possible on social media. This made advertising on Google difficult, leaving brands with a lack of insight into whether certain audience types performed better, even when searching the same terms as another demographic.
With Audience Observation however, brands can add a host of Google-defined audiences to their ads, in an effort to observe their performance. Based on this data, bidding for ad space became easier to target, and Google has even begun suggesting audiences in the Ideas section.
3. Responsive Search Ads
RSAs (mentioned above) are another time-saver for Google Ads users. Unlike old-school text ads where the advertiser creates separate, distinct versions of ads, RSAs employ a mix-and-match functionality whereby the separate copy sections are each treated as several separate assets that Google then merges together to create a cohesive ad.
This quick and easy Google Ads tool allows users to gain fast insights about users, and lets advertisers test combinations faster than manually creating every version they would need.
4. Discovery Campaigns
Discovery Campaigns are visually-rich content ads that are shown based on end-user activity. Combining images with snappy headlines, brands can use these ads to catch a user’s eye – generating interest and brand awareness, leading to easier conversions.
Discovery ads appear across the Google Discover Feed (found on the Google App and in certain places on the Google.com website), YouTube home feed, and also Gmail. Largely automated, they take little effort in setting up and have one of the bestad-returns ratios.
5. Explanations Feature
When Ads are performing well, nobody is worried. But in a flash, things could go instantly wrong. Why? Who knows…until now!
The Explanations Feature helps users by providing insights into search campaign performance and why results have changed. Although still in beta, it does a good job of analyzing impressions, clicks, costs and conversions over 90 days, then comparing this data with another to find reasons for the change in performance.
You’ll find this tool embedded into the impressions column of your ads homepage, displayed as a percentage below the number of impressions. If it’s blue, that means it’s hyperlinked and you can click through to bring up a small window, with the option to read a more detailed explanation. It will note the primary driver of the change, and contributing portions.
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